Just months ago, Vice President Mike Pence, then the governor of Indiana, and Gen. James Mattis were decrying then-candidate Donald Trump's call to ban all Muslims from the United States, but on Friday stood behind the president as he announced an executive order banning half of the world's Shiite Muslims from entering the country.
Pence, who just over a year ago called the proposed ban "offensive and unconstitutional, and Mattis, the new Defense Secretary, who said a ban would cause "great damage" to world order, showed their minds had changed, reports The Washington Post.
Pence nodded, and Mattis grinned after Trump handed him the order, the newspaper noted.
Trump's original call was for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." The current executive order does not mention Islam specifically, but still bars travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries, and on Saturday, several were stopped at national airports.
However, Pence has opposed Syrian refugees from coming into the country for several months, joining with about two dozen other state leaders to demand a suspension of Syrian refugees coming to live in the United States.
Trump, throughout his campaign, also slammed Democratic rival Hillary Clinton for favoring liberal border policies and for plans to allow larger numbers of Syrian refugees to enter the country.
Mattis as well opposed the ban, telling a meeting at the Stanford University’s conservative Hoover Institution in July that the plans were "sending shockwaves through the international system."
Trump eventually distanced himself as well, releasing a "Contract with the American Voter" that did not mention a ban, but instead called for "extreme vetting" and to stop immigration "from terror-prone regions."
He also insisted during an interview this week with ABC's David Muir that the executive order would not constitute a Muslim ban.
"You'll be very thrilled," he told Muir. "You're looking at people that come in, in many cases, in some cases with evil intentions. I don't want that. They're ISIS. They're coming under false pretenses. I don't want that. I'm going to be the president of a safe country."
However, he said while signing the order, which includes extreme vetting of refugees, that it will help "to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America."
Friday's order banned visitors from Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Yemen from entering the United States for the next three months.
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